The Color of Your Urine --What It Means
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Last updated July 8, 2016 (originally published January 26, 2008)

By Arthur Stevens, Contributing Columnist and Louise Carr,
Associate Editor
[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other
members of our Editorial Board.]

My urine is oily, what does this mean? My urine is deep orange,
should I be concerned? What color is my urine if I have
diabetes? Most of us study our urine, and are either relieved or
secretly worried about what we see.  This article is a handy
reference to guide you through the various color changes of
your urine, and lets you know what you should do about what
you see.

Your urine is a byproduct of digestion. You drink water and
other fluids. They enter your stomach, then your colon, where
the small intestines take the water , mixes it with food and
bacteria to break the food down.  Excess water is then passed
into your blood stream  and then through to your kidneys,
which use the water to help cleanse your blood of wast, toxins
and impurities. Your kidneys then flush the water out thorough
the uretha and it leaves your body as urine.

So urine, when every things goes right, is a combination of
95% water and 5% waste compounds from your kidneys.
Every day, you urinate about 1.5 to 2.5 quarts of urine.
Because you also lose about a glass of water just breathing out
(which is why your breath is moist when you blow on a mirror
or a window) and more than a quart as sweat, even if you are
sedentary), it is easy to go into water deficit and end up with
an abnormal urine color. By the time you feel "thirsty", you are
already dehydrated.

Urine is supposed to be a pale yellow and, contrary to popular
belief, odorless. Pungent urine usually mean that you need to
drink more water.

Are You Dehydrated?

Is your urine a deep orange color? Are you producing less
urine than normal? Does this mean you are dehydrated? Put
simply, if more water and fluids are exiting your body than
entering it, you will become dehydrated.

Dehydration happens if you don’t drink enough water, you lose
too much water, or you suffer a combination of both problems.
You may not be able to drink enough water because it isn’t
available – when you’re busy and forget to take a drink on the
road with you, or when you’re hiking in the countryside. Many
situations cause you to lose too much liquid.

Diarrhea causes dehydration, as does vomiting which leads to a
loss of fluids. When you sweat, you lose a significant amount of
water, especially on hot and humid days. Add in intense
physical exercise and you are likely to become dehydrated if
you don’t take on extra water.

People with
diabetes are at increased risk of dehydration due
to increased urination. Many medications, such as
antihistamines, diuretics, blood pressure medication and anti-
psychotics such as lithium, as well as alcohol, increase your
urination and therefore the risk of dehydration.

How much water should you drink every day? According to
experts at the Biomedical Sciences Department at Aberdeen
University, UK you need to drink between one and two liters of
fluids every day to maintain a healthy hydration – you need
more if any of these dehydration risk factors apply to you.  

Symptoms and Remedies for Dehydration

The system of hydration in our bodies is complex but
dehydration can be easy to spot. The first sign you’ll have of
dehydration is thirst – by the time you’ve reached this point
you need to take on more water because you are already
slightly dehydrated.

Darker and decreased urine is another key symptom. How does
dehydration affect you? Even small levels of dehydration can
cause problems.

Dehydration causes headaches and fatigue, and a drop in
alertness. A 2009 study from the Jean Mayer USDA Human
Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in
Boston showed mild levels of dehydration (losses of between 1
percent and 2 percent of body water) were associated with a
negative mood, fatigue and confusion. (Read more about
common medical conditions that cause fatigue. )

When you become moderately dehydrated you may suffer a
mouth, muscle weakness and dizziness and have few tears to
shed when you cry. Dehydration can affect your movements
and coordination. In fact, dehydration is directly linked to a
decline in performance on the basketball court according to a
2007 study from Pennsylvania State University. Researchers
looked at 17 adult males practicing basketball skills at various
levels of dehydration and found as dehydration increased,  
their performance and level of skill decreased.  

How can you treat dehydration? You must restore the fluid
level in your body by drinking water, clear soups or sports
drinks, or by sucking on ice or ice pops. Many people say you
should avoid caffeine in drinks like coffee, tea and soda
because caffeine makes dehydration worse. However, a 2011
study from Nutrition Communications, Front Lebanon, Cupar,
UK found black tea is not significantly different from water in
its ability to maintain hydration.

diarrhea, you may need to rehydrate with water that
contains salt and sugar. Many parents give their children “flat”
carbonated drinks when they are recovering from vomiting and
diarrhea as an alternative to rehydration salts or salted water.
But 2008 research from Watford General Hospital, UK
demonstrated flat sodas contain too much sugar and not
enough salt.

While most cases of dehydration can be turned around by
drinking more water and increasing your salt and glucose
levels, some occurrences of severe dehydration need immediate
medical attention in the form of intravenous fluids. Severe
dehydration causes shriveled and dry skin, low blood pressure,
rapid heart beat, fever, delirium and unconsciousness. If you
regularly drink very little water, you are at risk of serious
kidney problems and you are harming your digestive system
and your heart. When your fluid levels are low, the volume of
blood in your veins goes down and you have less available to
send to your vital organs.

How Can You Prevent Dehydration?

Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day in order
to prevent dehydration. Eat foods that have a high water
content, like fruit and vegetables. When you’re heading for the
gym, always put a bottle of water in your bag and don’t forget
to drink from it - one liter of water per hour of hard exercise,
according to the Biomedical Sciences Department at Aberdeen
University. According to 2009 research from Indiana State
University, a high number (80 percent of NCAA Division I
football players and 50 percent of NFL players) of college and
professional athletes start the season dehydrated and the
situation worsens as they undertake strenuous workouts in

And keep an eye on how much your children are drinking. Kids
are less able to tell when they’re becoming dehydrated so you
need to make sure they take in enough fluids. Older people,
too, are at increased risk of dehydration. A 2007 study from
the Howard Florey Institute in Melbourne warned that older
people are at risk because their brains underestimate the
amount of water they need to drink, and they consequently
drink less than they need – a particular danger during hot

Your Urine Color Gives Clues About Your Health

You can tell a lot about your health by the color, and the
composition, of your urine. Many tests are being developed to
screen for serious diseases by checking the urine.

According to 2011 research from Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux
de Paris, University Paris VI, France trained dogs are able to
detect prostate cancer by sniffing urine samples. Volatiles
organic compounds (VOCs) in urine have been proposed as
cancer biomarkers and the study showed specially trained dogs
could, after a two-year period of training, detect which samples
contained the compounds.

The landmark discovery by the French has now been repeated
elsewhere in the world, in the United States and Italy. For
example, a study by Dr. Gianluigi Tavera presented at the 2014
annual meeting of the American Urological Association in
Orlando, Florida showed that trained German shepherds can
detect prostate cancer by sniffing urine with almost 100%
accuracy (98.7%).

And a 2011 study from the University of Georgia shows
proteins excreted in urine indicate the presence of gastric
cancer. Now that the protein has been identified, a method
where urine changes the color of an indicator – like a
pregnancy test – to show its presence or absence will be

A 2006 study from University of California, Los Angeles School
of Nursing demonstrated the effectiveness of monitoring urine
color to maintain the health of elderly patients. Researchers
used a urine color chart to check hydration levels in residents
of a nursing home and found the tool was a good method of
assessing whether patients were at risk of dehydration.

Here is a chart of urine colors you might see and what they

Why Does Your Urine Change Color?

Continue reading  page 1  page 2

Cystitis -Causes and Top 10 Natural Remedies

Diabetes Insipidus

Incontinence-Causes and Top 10 Natural Remedies

Bladder Infection -Causes and Cures

7 Medical Conditions That Make You Gain Weight

Blood in Your Stool? -Causes and Cures

The Epidemic of Dehydration -How Much Water Should You
Drink Each Day?

Bowel Color-What It Means
Urine Color
Food That Produces Color
What You
Should Do
Pale Yellow,
Clear or
Normal, if pale yellow. A
chemical called urochrome is
responsible for tinting normal
urine a shade of yellow. The
more water you drink, the
clearer is your urine.

Murky urine or cloudy can be
caused by kidney stones or
urinary tract infections. Cloudy
urine in particular can indicate

Urine which has absolutely no
color or is absolutely clear is a
symptom of
diabetes insipidus.
Pale yellow is the color of normal
Nothing. But if your
urine has no color at
all (clear), this can

If your urine is
cloudy, you may
have cystitis, and
you may need
Fava beans, aloe and rhubarb.
Medical conditions such as liver
cirrhosis and hepatitus and
acute glomerulonephritis.
Medications such as
chloroquine and nitrofuratoin,
primaquine, methocaarbamol.
metronidosole and laxatives
with cascara and senna.

Hepatorenal syndrome can
also cause dark urine.

A disease called "maple syrup
urine disease" colors urine
brown and produces excess
branched chain amino acids in
your urine.
Fava beans, aloe and rhubarb.
If you are not eating
any of the foods
which can turn urine
brow, see a doctor
for a full blood
Deep Yellow
Orange or
Dehydration is the most
common cause of dark orange
Colored drinks can produce this
color. Carrots, Vitamin C and foods
high in carotine can also produce
orange urine. Medications which can
turn your urine orange include  
Pyridium and Coumidin.
Drink more water.
Bright Yellow
Excess B vitamins
  Reduce or eliminate
all B vitamin pills or
supplements. If the
color persists, cut
back on foods rich in
B vitamins such as
whole grains.
Porphyria, a disease that
attacks your nervous system
and skin. It turns your urine
the color of port wine, hence
the name of the disease.

Red urine  can also indicate
the presence of blood in your
urine (a condition called
hematuria) which can be
caused by exercise, a urinary
tract infection or blood from
your kidneys or
bladder cancer.

Blood in your urine or semen,
if you are a man, can be
caused by several other
Blueberries, colored cereals, colored
drinks such as kool-aid, beets and
boysenberries can sometimes
change your urine color to a shade
of red. Laxatives (especially
chocolate laxatives), chlorpromazine
(thorazine),anasthetic propofol
(Diprovan), lead poisoning, mercury
See a doctor,to rule
out porphyria or
blood in your kidneys
or lead or mercury
Fried and oily foods can cause
oily drops in your urine.
Fred and oily foods.
Eat less oil. Some
whole grains (brown
rice, whole grain
breads and cereal,
quinoa can help to
reduce oil in your
stomach and in your
Blue or Dark
"Blue diaper syndrome"
(familial hypercalcemia) is a
rare cause of blue urine. More
common causes are dyes in
medications such as Urised,
Trac tabs, amitriptyline,
Tagamet, indomethacin.
Certain multivitamins can also
turn urine blue
See a doctor if you
are not on any of the
medications which
commonly turn urine

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Add water, soups and fruits to your diet to prevent dark colored urine.
What's Inside This Article?

  • Chart of Urine Color

  • How to Know If You Are

  • Reasons for Blood in Your

  • Reasons for Dark Urine -
    page 2